Monday, August 6, 2012

Are these the seven most terrifying words in the English language?

        MIKE BARA IS AN EXPERIENCED JETLINER DESIGNER.

        Mike himself told us this near the beginning of his latest venture in pseud-psych internet radio — a two-hour session last Saturday night on something called Shiny Side Out. It comes from Australia, which guarantees that guests on phone lines from Seattle will be fairly incomprehensible. By inviting Mike Bara, the host guaranteed that his guest would be ignorant in addition to incomprehensible.

        Mike voiced those seven words of doom in connection with the TWA Flight 800 disaster, which he credited with having jump-started his new "career" as a conspiracy theorist. He wanted us to believe that he had special expertise which made his eccentric opinion about the disaster credible. However, he spoiled it a bit by saying, later, "Newtonian physics is wrong", "Red shift is complete nonsense", and "If you spin something you will get more energy than you put into it". As we know, his opinion of physicists in general is that "most of them are blithering idiots."

        So much for expertise.  Toward the end Mike ventured again into the realm of planetary astronomy, a field which has been the undoing of both him and his former co-author more times than you can shake a JPL engineer with a mohawk at. He said this: "The Moon feels more gravitational pull from the Sun than it does from the Earth." Let's see now....

DATA:
µ for Earth: 4 x 106 km3 sec-2
µ for Sun: 1.32 x 1011 km3 sec-2
Mass of Moon: 7.35 x 1022 kg
Moon-Earth distance 3.84 x 105 km
Moon-Sun distance 1.5 x 108 km


CALCULATION:
The factor µ is the Standard Gravitational Parameter of an astronomical body. It's the product of the body's mass and the Universal Gravitational Constant, G.

Gravitational attraction between any two bodies is given by µM/d2 where µ is the SGP of one body, M is the mass of the other body, and d is the distance between them.

Therefore for the Earth-Moon system:

F = (4 x 7.35 x 1028) divided by (3.842 x 1010)
    = (29.4/14.74) x 1018
    = 2 x 1018 newtons

for the Sun-Moon system:

F = (1.32 x 7.35 x 1033) divided by (1.52 x 1016)
   = (9.70/2.25) x 1017
   = 4.31 x 1017 newtons, an order of magnitude less than the Earth-Moon figure.

NOTE: The above calculation is in error. µ for Earth should be 4 x 105 km3 sec-2. Therefore the correct figure for F(Earth) is 2 x 1017 newtons, less than half the figure for the Sun-Moon system. Mike Bara is correct.

33 comments:

Chris Lopes said...

The Moon-Earth and Moon_Sun distances don't make sense as written.

expat said...

What do you think they should be, Chris?

Chris Lopes said...

Expat,
If I'm reading what you wrote correctly, you are saying that the Moon-Earth distance is 403.2 km and the Moon-Sun distance is 162 km. Unless of course (and I just realized it) you mean 3.84 * 10 (to the power of) 5 km and 1.5 * 10 (to the power of) 8 km. That would make sense.

Trekker said...

I think Chris might mean, for example, expressing the distance from the earth to the moon as 3.84 x 105 kms(can't raise the 5 above the line) rather than a straightforward 384,000 kms.

Am I right, Chris? If I am, can you explain why you wrote it that way, Expat?

Trekker said...

Oh I see Chris has already responded since I posted the above.

expat said...

3.84 * 10 (to the power of) 5 km and 1.5 * 10 (to the power of) 8 km are exactly right, yes. Are the exponents not clear on your system?

Anonymous said...

It's d = 384000 = 3.84x10^5 ==> d^2 = (3.84^2)x10^(5x2) = 14.74x10^10 [all in metres]

Trekker said...

I don't know if this is addressed to me or to Chris, Expat.

What puzzles me is why you expressed the distances using 'powers of', rather than just straight km distances. As I'm neither a mathematician nor a physicist, I don't understand the reason. Can you explain why, for a 'lay' person, you wrote the distances in this way?

Chris Lopes said...

They weren't, but now they are. As to the substance of the post, of course Bara is full of it. The math (and the fact that the Earth keeps Bara from hurling towards the Sun whenever he gets up off the couch) proves it very nicely. I wouldn't expect that who thinks Newtonian physics is bunk to understand the inverse square law and Bara doesn't disappoint. Thanks Expat.

expat said...

Trekker: This is the normal way math is done when numbers get large.
150,000,000 km just gets too cumbersome when it's part of an equation.

Try writing it out that way and I guarantee you'll confuse yourself.

expat said...

To express the mass of the Moon without exponents you'd need to write

73,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg.


Any more questions???

expat said...

By the way, Mike did cover the zombie ziggy in that interview. Comparing the poor quality, noisy image he "found somewhere on the web" with the far better quality image on the NASA site, he stated that the NASA version "has been altered. It's not authentic."

Chris Lopes said...

It does make the math (as long as you don't trip over the exponents) a lot easier, especially when you are dealing with units that are orders of magnitude from each other.

As to Bara designing airplanes, the fact that the things still manage to stay in the air would suggest he has done no such thing. If you don't believe in Newtonian physics, you can't deal with concepts like center of gravity, lift, thrust, load, and drag. All of which are kind of important if you want those big metal things to actually fly. An aeronautical engineer would know that, a CADCAM operator might not.

Trekker said...

OK, thanks, Expat. I didn't know that!

strahlungsamt said...

Did it ever occur to Hoagie or Mike that if a spinning object got more energy (or whatever it's supposed to do), wouldn't somebody else have noticed it by now? I mean, there must be literally millions of physics majors worldwide, and thousands who do actual experiments on a daily basis, and yet none of them ever noticed anything funny.
(Or do the Egyptian god worshipers at NASA have them all imprisoned at Area 51?)
Just a thought.

Mulvaney said...

I have long suspected that Bara forgot to pay his gravity taxes and has been floating around, lost in his own space, since then. Now he is spinning out of control, but I am not sure that he is creating more energy than he is expending.

Binaryspellbook said...

I notice how Bara continually refers to Dr Robbins as "Mr Robbins." Perhaps he isn't comfortable arguing with a PhD so Stuart gets a demotion.

I am referring of course to Bara's rebuttal of Dr Robbins claim that he faked the ziggy. Read his blog for the latest.

Anonymous said...

Bara is a sleazebag. Like an unemployed porn star from the 70's. Look at him, he's despicable.

Trekker said...

I'm not sure what the point of Mike's rant was. He nit-picks about histograms and shadows in the original NASA image, while ignoring the blatantly obvious - that there's NO ZIGGURAT THERE in the first place!

expat said...

Yes. I've just posted a reply to the blog. If he fails to allow it to appear I'll re-post here.

expat said...

I've now had a chance to review parts of C2C-AM on the Curiosity landing. I've decided not to blog it -- this was such a wonderful triumph that I don't care to focus on Richard Hoagland's exploitation of it to promote his daft ideas. Sorry.

Chris Lopes said...

I admit I've over estimated Mike on this one. I thought he'd be smart enough to just walk away from this one and just sell his book. I can only think he's playing this game for the benefit of his fans, because he can't really think he'd win on the facts against someone who studies such things for a living. He can't be THAT delusional. In any case, it'll be interesting to see if Hoagie tries to get into this fight too.

Speaking of Hoagland, I agree that his comments about Curiosity on the night of the landing (I haven't bothered listening to them) are not worth covering. The real science being done is beyond him, and he has nothing but silliness to add to the event.

Esteban Navarro said...

-This is the poignant,stupidity & ignorant arrogance of a rube astrologic pimp:
http://mikebara.blogspot.com.es/2012/08/as11-38-5564-why-daedalus-ziggurat-is.html

-And this is the response he gets:

http://pseudoastro.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/mike-bara-defends-the-lunar-ziggurat-my-response/

Rigorous, appropriate and much more elegant than he deserves...

Bravo, Astroguy!

Anonymous said...

I managed to struggle through/endure the full show. It was typically painful. To give ya the gist... the first third of the show was Hoagie talking about "OUR achievements and "WE have made history" as if he was ["still"] a key person at NASA without whom none of it would have been possible; and that this will be the start of a glorious golden space age with all the political and economic wins he's be spouting about.

The second third of the show was a guest who pretty much agreed with everything Hoagie was saying about Curiosity's REAL mission (John Brandenburg, I think it was) and who said without Dick's 'tireless decades of research and dedication' to put Mars back on the agenda and in the public eye, none of this would have been possible because Mars was just a boring, dead planet that held no interest in the 70s/80s.

And the final third of the show was Hoagie constantly lecturing in his condescending style and continually interrupting the guest (Robert Zubrin, I think) because he disagreed with Hoagie that barry wasn't trying to tell us about aliens in the christmas card insignia and that it wont be super-amazingly unexpected if Curiosity detects signs of life because (a) many scientists believe life could exist elsewhere, and (b) that is why Curiosity has such equipment on board. (This guest was actually quite good to listen to, of course Hoagie didn't let him get a word in edge-ways and constantly tried to make him feel like an idiot for not "getting it").

It was quite a chore to listen to; and you could literally here the excitement in Hoagie's voice - not at a mars landing, but that a radio show and millions of listeners see HIM as the ultimate authority figure to listen to at that time - as proven by the Hoagie-lovers who called in to express their joy (his ego literally blocked out the radio waves for a while). Ultimately the main thing I took from it -other than the above- was Dick trying to sensationalize everything about the rover/mission in order to set the stage for some "truly astonishing" stuff (no matter what that "stuff" turns out to be - he's gonna be milking this one for the next thirty years!!).

Esteban Navarro said...

I said here that my religion forbids me to interact with this little nazi, but as I don´t care to contradict myself , I post Dr.Robbins response on Bara´s FB.
We'll see what it takes to delete it...


Sorry for the insults, Expat,it´s beyond my control. I just cant stand this brat.He´s a shame even for pseudoscience or pseudoreligion.

expat said...

Anon: Yes, that's a pretty fair summary. George Noory was typically impotent in the face of RCH's constant interruption of Zubrin.

RCH's technical description of the landing wasn't too bad. He said that the skycrane uses steel cables to lower the rover, which isn't correct, but a minor fault.

Trekker said...

Expat, can you update your sidebar to link to Stuart's rebuttal? It still links to his post from last night.

expat said...

That's not under my control, sorry.

Trekker said...

Ah, OK!

Chris Lopes said...

Anon,
Thanks for the summery. I was going to download Zubrin and Livingston's part of the program, but if it's just Hoagland interrupting people who know what they are talking about, I won't bother. I knew Hoagie would ruin the occasion with his own BS, so I figured I'd let Expat fill us in if there was anything interesting. Apparently there wasn't, so I didn't miss anything.

astroguy said...

Thanks all. And I am working on my own summary of the show and should post it later today now that I'm finally awake.

jourget said...

I'm truly surprised Zubrin agreed to be on with Hoagland again. Last time was during Hoagland's "Phobos is artificial" kick. Zubrin managed to skirt around the subject for much of the discussion, but they eventually got in what was more-or-less a shouting match, a venue in which Hoagland typically wins in the minds of C2C listeners because of his sanctimonious debating style. My guess is that Zubrin just wanted to try to emphasize the importance of the moment and inspire excitement among those listeners who have a modicum of sense in their heads.

Misti Parker said...

The first thing I always ask before booking a flight and then boarding the plane is, "will Gerard B. Finneran be flying with us today?" You mean now I have to mention Mike Bara in the same breath?

By the way, Portugal is not just another banana republic.